Series Detail

Reformation Sunday The WOW Factor

October 22, 2023 | Buster Brown

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."  Ephesians 2:4-10

"But we define justification as follows: the sinner, received into communion with Christ, is reconciled to God by his grace [the sacrifice for sin on the cross], while, cleansed by Christ's blood, he obtains forgiveness of sins, and CLOTHED WITH CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS AS IF IT WERE HIS OWN, he stands confident before the heavenly judgment seat.”  John Calvin, The Institutes, 3-18-8

"This is the MAIN HINGE on which religion [the Christian faith] turns, so that we devote the greater attention and care to it. For unless you first of all grasp what your relationship to God is, and the nature of his judgment concerning you, you have neither a foundation on which to establish your salvation nor one on which to build piety [a devoted and energetic faith] toward God.”  John Calvin, The Institutes, 3-11-1

The Reformation was a rediscovery of the glorious doctrine of salvation, by the work of Christ alone on the cross as the sacrifice for sinners.

The WOW factor produces:

1. Joy. 

Q 70: What is justification?
A: Justification is an act of God’s free/unmerited grace unto sinners, in which he pardons (forgives) all their sins, accepts them as fully (embraced) righteous in his sight; not for any thing done in them, or done by them, but only because of the perfect obedience and full satisfaction/sacrifice of Christ. This is imputed/credited in total to them, and received by faith alone.
Larger Catechism

“There I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith. And this is the meaning: the righteousness of God is revealed by the Gospel, namely, the passive righteousness with which the merciful God justifies us by faith. HERE I FELT THAT I WAS ALTOGETHER BORN AGAIN AND THE VERY GATES OF PARADISE HAD OPENED BEFORE ME.”  Martin Luther

Passive righteousness = a work done outside of me and for me by Jesus on the cross.

2. Armed for the daily battle of faith (Ephesians 2:5-7).

“So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares you deserve death and hell, tell him this: I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where he is, there I shall be!"  Martin Luther

3. The understanding of the cross makes a believer "dangerous." Living a life of devoted, focused energy.

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."  1 Corinthians 6:19-20

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."  1 Peter 2:9-10

"In a fair bit of Western evangelicalism, there is a worrying tendency to focus on the periphery. [My] colleague . . . Dr. Paul Hiebert . . . . springs from Mennonite stock and analyzes his heritage in a fashion that he himself would acknowledge is something of a simplistic caricature, but a useful one nonetheless. One generation of Mennonites believed the gospel and held as well that there were certain social, economic, and political entailments. The next generation assumed the gospel, but identified with the entailments. The following generation denied the gospel: the “entailments” became everything.. . . What is it in the Christian faith that excites you? . . . Today there are endless subgroups of confessing Christians who invest enormous quantities of time and energy in one issue or another: abortion, pornography, home schooling, women’s ordination (for or against), economic justice, a certain style of worship, the defense of a particular Bible version, and countries have a full agenda of urgent, peripheral demands. Not for a moment am I suggesting we should not think about such matters or not throw our weight behind some of them. BUT WHEN SUCH MATTERS DEVOUR MOST OF OUR TIME AND PASSION, EACH OF US MUST ASK: IN WHAT FASHION AM I CONFESSING THE CENTRALITY OF THE GOSPEL?"  D.A. Carson